Scholar Profile

Erin J. Adams

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
The University of Chicago
5801 South Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
Voice: 773-834-9816
Personal Homepage
2007 Searle Scholar
Current Member of the Advisory Board

Research Interests

The vertebrate immune system uses many unique mechanisms to recognize and eliminate foreign pathogens and disease. These mechanisms are mediated predominately by receptors expressed on the surface of specialized immune cells that survey their environment for the presence of non-self or altered self through protein receptors on their cell surface. Our interests focus on identifying the molecular recognition mechanisms of these receptors, and furthermore characterizing the signals to which they are responding. One area of our research focuses on a particular cell type, gamma delta T cells, which reside in tissue compartments that are initial sites of infection such as the digestive and reproductive tracts, as well as the epidermis. Our goal is to identify the molecular mechanisms behind how these T cells recognize antigen through their T cell receptor (TCR) and how these signals are transmitted to the interior of the cell through the TCR/CD3 signaling complex.  We are exploring these questions through protein biochemistry, biophysical measurements such as surface plasmon resonance (SPR), and x-ray crystallography.  We  complement our molecular studies with cell imaging using confocal microscopy and cell based stimulation assays in order to put our findings at the molecular level in the context of the cellular based immune response.